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  1. #11
    "Part of the package I brought was a copy of Mach3"

    What was the package and where did it come from? There are quite a lot of flaky pirate copies of Mach3 around that kind-of seem to work. Except that they are riddled with bugs and inclined to fail in various unexpected ways. Do you have a genuine Mach3 licenced copy? This isn't meant as any kind of criticism - if you bought something that says it has a copy of Mach3 it's reasonable to assume that that's what you are getting. However, it isn't always true and it might just be the reason you are seeing peculiar behaviour from Mach3.

  2. #12
    The mill and parts were purchased from a model maker who didn't manage to finish the mill conversion, but I agree the copy of mach3 supplied could have been dubious. The version I am attempting to setup with I downloaded from newfangled myself, it is only the demo version as I wasn't sure it would be my preferred software and I just wanted it for testing purposes.
    The limit problem I have i assume must be either a bug in my mach3 download or a fault on my breakout board, or indeed there is always the possibility of stupidity on my part

  3. #13
    To answer your question about UCCNC - as a replacement for Mach3 it also requires that you replace your breakout board with a UCxxx/AXBB motion controller. Beyond that, your stepper/drivers are okay. You can read the requirements for UCCNC in terms of host computer for yourself.

    Regarding the behaviour of the input limits/estops - you mention bugs, faults or stupidity - the latter is the only one you can fix at low cost :-). Disable your limits within Mach3 and get the estop working predictably. NC/gnd is the better solution - you provide a direct signal path in this case (ignoring that this solution is safer for determination of circuit failure) - I don't know your BoB but some/many require two separate supplies - 5V and a 12-24V - the latter regulated onboard to use as the drive supply for onboard opto-isolator inputs - without that your inputs may not work (but generally just "don't work" rather than be sporadic). Some other hateful BoBs I've encountered don't isolate the inputs and just present the parallel interface of the computer straight to the BoB Input pins (maybe a pull-up and noise suppression cap) - these are highly susceptible to noise and can cause spurious triggers. Mach3 has some debounce settings to attempt to filter electrical noise. A photo of your BoB would help.

  4. #14
    Another quick question on the pc you are using (and Doddy is making useful inputs on the BoB side so these are parallel lines of enquiry!) - are you using a laptop or desktop machine?

    Laptops can be problematic with Mach3 and use of the parallel port. For one thing, laptop processors have a habit of electronically saying, "hang on a minute - I'm just going to do a bit of internal housekeeping." This might only be for a few tens of milliseconds and as a user you would never notice it but it completely screws Mach3's internal timing. The other issue is that later PCs and especially laptops only supply 3.3V on the parallel port, not 5V as older systems would provide. Both these are good reasons for using an external motion controller which offloads the time-critical bits of the processing and provide cleaner and more reliable signals to the outside world.

    As a follow-up - how are you powering your BOB? Does it have its own PSU - plug-in charger-like device? - or running off a USB port? Using the latter can also give issues.

    Trouble with your kind of question is that part of the fault-finding process can sound very critical but without knowing a lot of what might seem irrelevant details it's difficult to understand what's sitting in front of you - just blame the bloke you got it from!

  5. #15
    Ok people i will try and answer some of the questions and i do understand that trying to fault find with little information is difficult and somewhat annoying.
    I am using a desktop computer, dell optiflex running windows Xp 32 bit
    the breakout board is from EGC TB6560 3rd generation, it has the display mounted on the board, but you see some with it on a ribbon cable
    i will check to see if it requires a separate 12-24vdc supply, but i am using a dedicated 5vdc 5amp PSU to power the breakout board.
    I will try isolating the limits within Mach3 and see if i can get the e-stop reliable.
    When i am in the diagnostics of Mach 3 and i have managed to get it to reset for half a minute i can operate my micro switches and see the nice yellow LEDs light up so i know the signal is there what i dont understand is where Mach 3 is getting these spurious signals from, i am going to re jig my control box tonight and move the BoB away from the power supplies and other cables, just in case i am picking up electronic noise that could be causing dodgy signals

  6. #16
    Oh and one other thing - i believe i have to post at least 10 times before i can post pictures, but i am trying to think of ten things to say so i can upload them

  7. #17
    I have set up an album in my profile with a few pictures in it, made it public so hopfully you guys can view it

    steve

  8. #18
    Well... that's a crazy little BoB you have there... quite unlike any I've seen, but that what keeps life interesting. Yes, the manual for it (such as it is) describes the supply as a single 5Vdc supply, possibly USB sourced (though you identify that you're driving with a 5V/5A supply - nothing wrong with that.

    In trying to understand what you described as spurious triggers from the limit switches and e-stops... the problem is that from those photos in your profile (nice and reasonably clear - thank you!) everything is obscured by the display mounted to the board. What I was curious about was whether the inputs are isolated (Opto isolator/opto coupler) or just hard-wired... and of course the display covers all of that detail - and the manual I found online is less than useful!)

    Surrey is sufficiently far away to make me start to lose interest in this - I'm inclined to suggest that if you was to look under the display, near the terminal blocks for the input limit switches to see if you can see 5 Opto-isolator devices (google them for an image) - if these aren't visible on the board then I'd personally be thinking of replacing the BoB with a cheap Chinese (6) parallel BoB... just to get to a configuration that we're mainly familiar with.

    If you're adventurous enough to lift the display from the BoB and get another photo of the main PCB, that could be useful to examine further. Where I am with this is - if your BoB doesn't have Opto-isolated inputs, and you're suffering noise, the replacement BoB, and the cost therein, versus the effort of trying to diagnose (and resolve) a BoB without isolated inputs is a no brainer for me. A good image of the components fit to the main board would be good.

  9. #19
    i will endeavour to remove the offending screen, my first ry will be with a screw driver if that does not work i will resort to a hammer.
    i do have an BoB supplied with the box of bits i got with the machine but no data sheet on it, maybe i will try swapping them over, totally understand its not worth the time if the offending article is only a few quid.
    more just trying to work out if its dodgy chinese board or me being dumb!

  10. #20
    screen removed (screw driver worked) pics in album of naked BoB, back of BoB and removed screen

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